Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

International University for Monks – Additional Info

Additional information about the International University for Monks Volunteer Project

The university has roughly 250 university aged students, ranging in age from 18 – 22. All of the students are Buddhist monks. Half of the students are Thai nationals, whereas the other half are of other Asian descent.
The University’s Daily Schedule:

  • All morning the students stay at their respective temples and practice Buddhist rituals, prayers and meditation.
  • After lunch – Classes begin.
  • 4:30 Classes ends for the day.

A volunteer is free to come and leave the university as they wish. It’s recommended to stay at the university during most of the afternoon to get to know the staff and students. It is also recommended that volunteers occasionally spend time at the school during the mornings to get to know the professors during their down-time. Due to the relatively light schedule for volunteers at the university, we advise that volunteers also spend time in the temple schools for novices in the mornings.

Volunteer Project Video 1

You may have seen this video on the project page. This video clearly shows what the university is like.

Buddhist Days

The university sometimes observes the week’s Buddhist Day. Each week has a Buddhist day assigned to it. If the university is closed on this Buddhist day then the students stay at the temple where they sleep and take part in Buddhist activities throughout the day. If the Buddhist day falls on a work day of the week, the lessons for that day are most often made up on the following Saturday. Volunteers in the project are free to either teach on that Saturday of make-up lessons or take the time off to relax, travel or take part in one of Chiang Mai’s other activities.

Volunteer Role

The university is on a pretty tight schedule and they are required to follow the syllabi that professors prepare at the beginning of their courses. In most cases, volunteers will rarely be able to lead a lesson. In most cases, volunteers will simply be an assistant to the regular professor for a class or course. Therefore they will assist the professor and students with pronunciation techniques and other speaking and listening methods in their English courses. A second role the volunteer is asked to fulfill during his/her service is assisting the students with their homework, assignments and English conversational and speaking skills after lessons are over for the day or during breaks. It is very important that the students are able to speak and communicate in English, considering English is the medium in most classes taught at the university. Many of the students are not very confident in their English speaking abilities and are hungry for the opportunity to build upon their abilities and practice the skills they have already studied.

For ambitious volunteers who will be a part of the project for an extended period of time, secondary, self-initiated projects, such as small English conversation clubs, study groups, or other activities would be very highly looked upon by the university faculty, so long as they don’t interfere with the student’s normal lessons or Buddhist religious practices.

Materials, Stationary and Books

The university has plenty of books and other study materials used in their English courses. Volunteers may use some of these materials to assist them during their service at the university. Other materials from home, such as picture books and post cards can be really well used during the course of one’s volunteer service.

There are a few good stationary stores in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately there is no budget available for volunteer teacher/tutor resources. Therefore if a volunteer wants to purchase supplies or materials for their work, they will have to do so with their own money. Friends For Asia staff will be happy to show you the way or take you to a stationary store during your orientation or service to help you prepare for your lessons. For specific information regarding the system of making copies, a volunteer would have to consult their coworkers at the university.

Volunteer Video 2

This is a video of Leslie, one of our previous volunteers in the project, teaching a class of monks.

Volunteer Transportation

Airport pick up, the city tour and the transportation to and from the cultural show and dinner are covered in the project fee. Friends For Asia staff also sends volunteers and interns to seek medical assistance in non-emergency situations. Obviously, in the case of an emergency a proper ambulance would be called and used. A volunteer will have to cover the cost of their own transportation if they make multiple appointments to visit a doctor or dentist.

Volunteers in the International University for Monks Volunteer Project are responsible for their daily commute to and from the Volunteer House and their university. Its expected for volunteers to pay anywhere between $1.50 – $3.00 per day for transportation. Some volunteers in our projects take advantage of renting bicycles during their service, as they find it’s the best way to get around the city and take in the sites and atmosphere at the same time.

Visit the International University for Monks Volunteer Project Page

Read advice written by previous volunteers in the International University for Monks Volunteer Project